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Getting Started

Who is a Family Caregiver?

A "family caregiver" is anyone who provides any type of physical and/or emotional care for an ill or disabled loved one at home. Loved ones in need of care, could be suffering from a physical or mental illness, disability, substance misuse, or other conditions.

There are different types of family caregivers:

Parents
Adult children
Spouses
Family members
Neighbors
Friends

Regardless of how you became a caregiver, you are about to take on a new role for which you may not feel prepared. It is normal for you to feel nervous or overwhelmed about what is expected of you. You may experience a number of mixed emotions including anxiety, anger, and sadness. At the same time, you will probably feel the desire to care for your loved one the best way you can.

At a time when hospitals are releasing patients earlier, the elderly are living longer, and people are living with many chronic illnesses, more family members and friends are caring for loved ones at home. Often, people find themselves having to perform new and unfamiliar tasks. These may include giving medicines, assisting with meals, and performing medical and nursing procedures.

Examples of possible task can be:

Personal care
Emotional support
Medical care
Household management
Supervision
Translation services in medical settings

About Net of Care

Net of Care is a community resource network for caregivers of the medically ill. NetofCare.org is a site that can help caregivers feel less isolated and overwhelmed by making them the best caregiver they can be.

Net of Care features:

Online support, education, and information on daily aspects of caregiving
Local and national resources searchable by type of illness, service needs and location
Patient and caregiver E-newsletter
Health topics, such as, making health care decisions, communicating with health care professionals, pain management at home, managing medical emergencies, caregiver needs, stress management, and hospice care
Telephone support groups for caregivers

We want caregivers to be informed about available services, recognize when caregivers need help, and know how to ask for and accept assistance from others.

The Family Caregiver Program

The Family Caregiver Program of the Department of Pain Medicine and Palliative Care, founded in 1998, has achieved tremendous progress in addressing the needs of caregivers and providing useful resources through the close collaboration with a broad range of community-based service organizations and national not-for-profit agencies dedicated to addressing caregiver needs.

To date, the Family Caregiver Program has:

Conducted caregiver research and disseminated findings to caregivers and health care professionals
Evaluated the capacity of Internet-enhanced communication to caregivers, such as webcasts and Spanish-speaking telephone support groups
Educated health care professionals and community-based organization staff in the New York area about caregivers psychosocial needs to increase awareness
Developed a Brief Caregiver Screening Scale (BCSS), made up of 14 reliable questions to assess caregiver burden
Incorporated the role of caregivers into medical training programs
Produced, published, and distributed nationally 15,000 copies of the Caregiver Resource Directory

Department of Pain Medicine and Palliative Care

The Department of Pain Medicine and Palliative Care is dedicated to providing the highest quality of comprehensive care in pain management and palliative care, and advancing the educational and research aims of these disciplines.

Established in 1997, it is the first department of its kind in a University hospital in the United States
First program jointly devoted to pain management and palliative care
Includes multiple disciplines: physicians in diverse specialties, nurses, social workers, chaplain, psychologists and volunteers
Includes an inpatient unit, consultation team, an ambulatory practice, home care program, and certified hospice program
Recognizes the importance of education, training, and research, and created the Institute for Education and Research in Pain and Palliative Care to support these activities

 

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The Family Caregiver Program and NetofCare.org are generously supported by the Altman Foundation.
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